Aston Martin are just getting started on a big adventure and for double world champion Fernando Alonso, back on the Formula One podium at 41 years old and in his 20th season, it seems too good to be true.
The evergreen Spaniard was even talking about future wins after finishing third in Sunday's Bahrain season-opener behind the Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen, also a double champion, and Sergio Perez.
Aston Martin, seventh in the championship last year, were suddenly second in the standings and beating both Ferrari and Mercedes.
"When you are P3 in race one, there are 22 (more) opportunities this season," Alonso said of a possible 33rd career victory.
"You know, anything can happen in 22 races with different conditions. And, you know I will try my best to have the opportunity. Maybe we need some help.
"Maybe this year, if there is this help or there is some retirements in front of us or some problems maybe it's more than a podium. So let's hope for that."
Alonso said he had the same feeling that he got from testing last month - "too good to be true."
The car had areas that needed improving but the project was still in its infancy, he added.
"This is just the beginning. You know, this is not the final car, this is just the starting car of this concept that we changed over winter.
"I think some of the top teams they just kept the philosophy that they had last year. Red Bull or Ferrari they kept more of the same shapes. Just, fine-tuning things and making perfection of that good baseline that they had.
"For us, it was much more difficult. We have to change 95% of the car. So, I guess there is more to learn from the car, and there is more to come on our side."
Alonso had started fifth but dropped to seventh after making contact at turn four of the opening lap with Canadian team mate Lance Stroll, who finished sixth despite breaking both wrists and a toe in a cycling accident two weeks earlier.
The Spaniard then fought back, passing the Mercedes of seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc had already retired from third with a sudden loss of power.
Alonso said those fights may even have made Red Bull's domination look bigger than was really the case.
"On the final stint I had to pass Lewis and Carlos. So, all in all, I'm sure that you lose 10 or 15 seconds on all those battles.
"So if we are 40 seconds behind the leader, we could have been maybe 20 seconds, or 30 seconds," he said.
"We didn’t expect to be that competitive"— Formula 1 (@F1) March 5, 2023
Surprise and delight for @alo_oficial after he scores his 99th career podium🥉#BahrainGP #F1 https://t.co/OruTgbHVjh